Note from Radarsite: Here is a fascinating and insightful look into a world that few of us know anything about, but because we read novels and go to the movies everyone thinks they know everything about. Should be required reading for those of us who write about this "War on Terror". Written by someone who obviously knows what they're talking about -- a rare thing these days.
Thank you Shawmut for sharing your knowledge and experience, and thank you for your service.
Cross posted from Shawmut: "MICE won't bite Jihadists"
So you want better intelligence on the enemy? How do you want to get it?
For years experts, pundits, the neighborhood mouth and, in general, Americana, have been exploiting all they know, think they know or don't know regarding that element of statecraft - intelligence. (Spare me the definitions of the craft, its history, its ethical implications, and other cuteness's; I've heard them all.)
Yet, I'm always drawn to an article about the "Trade" as cited:
No trainee as a special agent in counter-intelligence or an intelligence officer has not heard the code: MICE - The elements employed to induce a person to provide information upon his country, gang or movement are usually gathered in terms of:
Money - Ideology - Compromise - Ego - - MICE
Today, the perceived enemy of our Western Tradition (allowing for all its faults; historical and hysterical) might be more of a challenge than those faced by Joshua, Walsingham, Tallmadge, Pinkerton, Dzerzinksii and Dulles. As a matter to consider, those elements, and combinations of them might work more effectively against us than against the factions that make up the; Jihadists, Islamic Anachists, Muslim Terrorists, Ikwan (take your pick of or add your term).
In the traffic among states, money has always been an incentive. We'll always find someplace to waste it. In philosophical conflicts ideology has been quite effective. Compromise, a most coercive element, engages not only status and vanity and but risks intimacy. Ego, all reasonable men accept, can lead to the unreasonable. And these elements can overlap as well. Permutations and factoring them; all or one, upon a person might be seen as simple as an employment agreement.
Now, let me digress a bit here and ask ourselves what we'd like in an employment agreement; pay, fairness, security and personal appreciation for ourselves in the job we do. These we can take to further extremes; health care, secure retirements, our children's future, goals realized and merit. Employer and employee must have trust that these agreements are understood. So, rapport is essential. (Allow me to re-assert that not all motives of an agent are virtuous.) An employee also expects his employer to be in business tomorrow or next week. How about coming home from a business trip and finding your employer has either gone out of business, or that product line you've racked up in commissions is no longer carried. Frequently enough the American Intelligence Community has yielded to pressures, domestic and foreign. Reliance upon technology (without verification) and internecine political spite have dashed many intelligence programs (think hostile take-overs).
So, here we've had agents-in-place, turned or doubled agents, a few people who can loiter without training (I remember a trainer saying, "Whatever you do, don't loiter. It will take you a generation to learn how to loiter."), who have or will be providing that information which used to make a decision will be intelligence. And what have we done in the late 70's and the 90's? Closed shop. "Poof""goes the reputation as a community friendly employer. And the idea that we might have shopped them to our mutual best friends hasn't exactly rubbed their tummies. They could have done that a hundred years ago. But they believed in ..No...We had them believe in us.
While being provided the data may or not be reliable; may or may not be true. If that agent is blown, defects openly or has just had enough and comes over; the goods are perishible. The opposition makes changes. Those are just the variables in the reality of "The Game". (In today's nuance; Extreme Game)
So much for the sparcely selected items of the scenery.
The question at stake is how do we conduct this activity with people to whom few of the rubrics of the trade apply. In terms of Money, we see it of no concern; well funded educations have gone up in Semtex. In terms of Ideology (theo-centric) their goal - as believers - is death anyway. Compromise might work if we find a jihadist-in-name-only indulging in the kaffir's hedonism. (For that a nuke at Monte Carlo would decimate the major Middle-East royal households and the money they allot our enemies.) And that element of Ego; who can he tell? (Like the Rabbi who get's a hole-in-one on Saturday.)
The nature of this enemy is amorphous. We're not waiting at a Czech border that our 'spitzel' or source will cross. We're not dealing with nation-states. Hoping that competent practioners have found a channel to navigate, apart from the Cold War mindset that still seems to prevail, in penetrating our current enemies, I found the cited articles seemingly indulgent in frustration.
Europe has aleady been over-run by W-Bombs (Womb Bombs) and they not only saw them coming, were told they were coming, but having religiously embraced anti-religious-secularity, accomodated each metasticizing missle.
Here, in "The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave", we are paralayzed by our own strength. The "Free" are afraid on what the less-free world will think. And the "Brave" (law enforcement, military and intelligence) are tethered by whims of disapproval by people inebriated by denial.
Effective intelligence operations have provided many peaceful solutions by just knowing another's intentions. Sure, Second Oldest Profession and all that. But, at least let's bring it up to date. By the way, 1 800 Abu Tech in Jakarta is not the solution.
While we're waiting, we might try something a bit unusual (and you can keep it Top Secret if you want; no candles, processions, flagellatons, etc, and you can do it furtively as written by John Buchan, Rudyard Kipling, Ian Fleming):
Reflect - (For the Irreligious)
Pray like a Devil in Hell - (For Insecure Pedestrians like me)
Intelligence Officers run or control "Agents (Sources)" who are functionaries for the deed. No such thing as an Intelligence Agent of CIA, DIA, etc. The professionnal is an "Intelligence Officer". Special Agents are personnel with tasks; FBI, DEA, etc. Domestically, Confidential Informants serve as Sources. Media will say an "American Intelligence Agent". (You know that 'reporter' majored in speech and drama.) Now that you know, you are professionally more articulate than Wolf Blitzer, Katie Couric, etc.